Due to the overwhelming popularity of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in recent months, museum officials are encouraging future visitors not to come — at least not yet.
An overload of visitors since the museum’s opening in April has packed the exhibits and crowded the hallways of the newest federal museum, straining both its human and financial resources.
“We do invite everyone to visit — but not right now,” said Museum Director Jeshajahu Weinberg.
Nearly 750,000 visitors have toured the museum in its first seven months of operation, as many as were expected in the entire first year. The museum welcomes an average of 4,200 people daily.
According to a survey released by the museum, 94 percent of the museum’s visitors enjoyed their experience. But 47 percent of the visitors polled thought the museum was too crowded.
Those polled included Jews, Catholics and Protestants. Ninety-five percent of both Jews and Catholics said they had enjoyed the museum, while 92 percent of Protestants approved.
In fact, the museum has drawn such large crowds that officials have been forced to hire more employees than initially planned, at a cost of about $200,000 in unexpected salaries. The overcrowding has also resulted in wear and tear, which will require additional refurbishing.